Marks & Spencer's fourth quarter results are "pretty underwhelming", according ITV News' Business Editor Joel Hills.
M&S sales in round pretty underwhelming. General Merchandise (includes clothing) down again and the fizz has gone out of food - sales flat.
M&S describes flat food sales as "a great quarter". More persuasively it points out no Easter boost as it falls later this year than last .
Marks and Spencer's fourth quarter 2014 results in full:
- Group sales: up 1.9%
- UK: total sales up 1.5%, like-for-like down 0.2%
- Food: total sales up 2.5%, like-for-like up 0.1%
- GM: total sales up 0.2%, like-for-like down 0.6%
- Clothing: total sales up 1.3%, like-for-like down 0.6%
- M&S.com: up 12.5%
- International sales: up 4.7%
Following the publication of Marks and Spencer's quarterly results, CEO Marc Bolland said he was pleased to see a rise of 0.6% in like-for-like clothing sales.
“We delivered another quarter of improvement in General Merchandise. Clothing sales were up 1.3% in total, up 0.6% on a like-for-like basis. We are encouraged by Womenswear, which is showing clear signs of improvement and performed ahead of Clothing.
“Our Food business had another great quarter, especially considering the later timing of Easter. This marks our 18th consecutive quarter of growth. We continued to outperform the market with record sales around key events including Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.”
Marks & Spencer's total UK sales were down 0.2% on a like-for-like basis in the fourth quarter of 2014, the company has announced.
Group sales were up 1.9%, while like-for-like food sales were down 0.1% and like-for-like general merchandising sales were down 0.6%.
The retailer Next is expected overtake High Street staple Marks & Spencer when it publishes its annual profits later today.
Next, led by chief executive Lord Wolfson, increased its forecast for annual profits in January after enjoying a bumper Christmas.
Annual profits for Next were expected to range from £684m to £700m, according to Lord Wolfson, who made the prediction during the festive trading period.
M&S will release their fourth quarter figures in the first half of next month, and are forecast to make a pre-tax profit of £626m.
The former boss of Marks & Spencer is to advise the Government on how to turn around failing hospitals, the Health Secretary has announced.
Sir Stuart Rose will work on attracting and retaining top leaders to help transform the culture in under-performing hospitals.
He will examine ways to recruit talent from inside and outside the NHS and make leaders more visible to patients and staff, Jeremy Hunt said.
Sir Stuart, who left M&S in 2010 and is chairman of Ocado, will particularly look at the problems facing the 14 NHS trusts currently in special measures. He will not be paid for the role.
Sir Stuart said: "Clearly the NHS is a very different institution from M&S, but leadership, motivating staff and creating a culture where people are empowered to do things differently are crucial to the success of any organisation, and I'm looking forward to helping in any way I can."
Giant strawberries the size of an egg and big enough to share have gone on sale in time for Valentine's Day.
The Spanish-grown King strawberry is being sold by Marks and Spencer.
The retailer says the fruit is at least 30% bigger than the average strawberry, and sweeter, making it the "perfect treat for sharing with someone special".
The retail chain's fruit expert Bill Davies said: "These jumbo King strawberries are perfect for two, delicious on their own or made extra special by dipping in melted chocolate for the ultimate Valentine's treat."
The introduction of giant strawberries is part of a trend at M&S for unusually-sized fruit and follows the success of the tiny 'Tiddly Pomme' apple and the giant 'Satsumo' satsuma
King strawberries are available in stores nationwide now for £6.99.